13th February 2014
Does God test us?
Well what do you mean by test?
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. (Genesis 22:1)
What was happening on Mount Moriah where Abraham headed off at Yahweh’s clear word to sacrifice? No lamb in sight, only his tender son trundling at his side. He was to be tested. But what is a test?
We must sit for tests to progress to the next level. And how we relish those better-than-hoped-for, beyond-expectation results - our minds flicking images of where we will be next - always looking ahead. This was the nature of Abraham’s test. No morose sufferer dumbly pushed along by out of control circumstances. Something wonderful was about to happen. Abe knew it! He was jumping out of his skin with hope: He knew his Lord of grace and all was tremblingly well.
Yahweh was taking him to a vision of the future so devastatingly glorious that time and eternity merged. It was sheer ecstasy here with Abraham. ‘God will provide’ was strong truth all around him like bees humming in warm air. What was the bursting hope of this moment in Abe’s soul? Well this chosen nomadic herdsman ‘saw the day of Jesus’ and he grasped the plan of the resurrection. (Romans 4; Hebrews 11) Augustine wrote about this around 400AD, and how it will shape the closing chapters of history - the eternal City of God! Abraham saw it - yes he did, he saw it!
No stunned rabbit in the spotlight here. More like a lion about to seize its prey, was Abraham. Or a child immersed in their project, hands bumping together getting it together! His test wasn’t dumb mindless passive panic. His was a test verging on graduation to the top level.
Test time is opportunity time. Singer Darlene Zchech, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, affirmed “Even though the past days have been very tough at times, the Holy Spirit has brought me endless comfort and the Word of God is literally holding me moment by moment.” She expects more of that. What treasures! Of course we shrink from it, that’s the very definition of test, or trained, as the word also means.
Circumstances falling upon us might push us to despair. Loud cries and deep adjustments that jar the soul make our moments and our days. Despair will soon loose their surly bonds and though perplexity may linger our eyes will widen and childlike faith will see us soon seeing unimaginable horizons of lasting joy and solid pleasures! That is the guts of test. We don’t set our own test. They are gently graded by the Lord of life for pilgrims for whom boredom is never on the curriculum. To yank us or to woo us to the wonderful. Always.